Court #1 - 16:9

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Supreme Court declares New York’s subjective-issue, or “may issue,” firearm license regime unconstitutional and reversed the Second Circuit’s decision in a 6-3 vote announced today.

The state of New York requires a person to show a special need for self-protection to receive an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm outside the home. Robert Nash and Brandon Koch challenged the law after New York rejected their concealed-carry applications based on failure to show “proper cause.” A district court dismissed their claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. Attorney generals from Missouri and Arizona led the way in filing an amicus brief in the case in November 2021. 

“Protecting the Second Amendment rights of citizens in Missouri and across the country is crucial, and that’s why Missouri and Arizona led the way in filing this amicus brief. Today, the United States Supreme Court affirmed what we argued in our amicus brief, that New York’s ‘may issue’ permitting regime is unconstitutional,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “This is a huge win for those seeking firearms licenses for self-defense and the preservation of the Second Amendment as a whole.”

In the majority opinion, authored by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court affirmed what Missouri and Arizona argued in their amicus brief, that “may issue” permitting regimes are unconstitutional. 

 Forty-two states have objective-issue permitting regimes, or “Shall Issue” permitting, meaning that an objective set of criteria is reviewed when considering issuing concealed carry or firearm permits. This criteria can be a background check, mental health records check, fingerprinting, knowledge of applicable laws, firearms training, or other requirements. In addition to requiring the above-mentioned objective criteria (e.g. background check, mental health records check, etc.), New York requires that an applicant “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.” 

 The attorneys general of  Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming also joined Missouri and Arizona in filing the brief.